Thank you Martin

I really should read more Luther. We all should. Read, and enjoy:

We who serve the church and hold the teaching office are certainly in a poor and lowly position, measured by the standards of the world against that of other professions. For we usually earn hostility for our labor and suffer not only haughty scorn but even hunger and want, while others are well rewarded and held in the highest esteem. We find, moreover, that for this reason men of superior ability turn away from our office and follow rather those callings which are profitable and respected.

But if you look at this question in the right way, no matter how miserable and despised he may be, the theologian is in a better position than all the teachers of the other professions. For as often as he performs his duty he not only does his neighbor a valuable service, which is superior to all the favors of all other men, no matter how precious and useful they might be; but he also offers to God in heaven Himself the most pleasant sacrifice and is truly called the priest of the All-highest. For everything a theologian does in the church is related to spreading the knowledge of God and to the salvation of men (AE 12, Preface to vol. 1 of Selected Psalms, p. 4).

Who can add anything to that?


About Rev. Paul L. Beisel

Graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN in 2001 (M Div.) and 2004 (S.T.M.); LC-MS Pastor and Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College; Husband of Amy and father of Susan, Elizabeth, Martin, and Theodore.
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6 Responses to Thank you Martin

  1. Anonymous says:

    Definitely we should all read more Luther…..
    Have you ever read some of his writings about Jews and peasants?

  2. Pastor Beisel says:

    No, perhaps you can enlighten me. I do remember him criticizing the peasants for rebelling against the authorities after the peasants’ revolt. And I’m pretty sure he thinks that anyone who rejects the Son of God (i.e. Jews) will be eternally damned. So, what might you be implying by your courageous comment?

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m quite sure every Lutheran pastor has read or at least heard of Luther’s “On the Jews and Their Lies”, and Luther’s writings against the peasants when they dared to attempt revolt against the ruling authorities. If Luther had ever had to live as a peasant, he might have taken a different view. Luther was all for everyone being content with their lot in life…..their calling/vocation….even if it was being a poverty-sticken peasant. How dare anyone attempt to improve the situation. And Luther would always side with the ruling princes anyway, because they were the ones who protected him from the Catholic Church.

    Martin Luther was God’s man for the hour, but he certainly was not God. I shudder sometimes to think that Luther’s name, or any man’s name, should be used as the title for a huge branch of the Christian Church.

  4. organshoes says:

    Lutherans do not shudder, however, from the name, nor do we replace the name of God with the name of Luther. We acknowledge his contribution to the Christian faith–acknowledge that he found it still glowing among the ashes of a corrupted church.
    Luther’s ‘On the Jews and Their Lies’ was not so much an indictment of Judaism itself, as of Jews of his time, proseletyzing conflicted and disgruntled Christians.
    And Luther was certainly not one to ever justify the sinning of anyone–poor, rich, weak or powerful, there was no excuse for willful disobedience. He did not have it so easy himself, that he lacked any sympathy for others’ grievances. But, as a man of God, as a Christian, a pastor, a spiritual counselor to people of faith, he could not justify the overthrow of even an unjust government–not with blood and chaos.
    Your knowledge of Luther and Lutherans is rather shallow. He was not, after all, a political leader who looked to bring political satisfactions for Christians of any stripe or name, nor a leader of men per se, but a shepherd of Christian souls. And thank God for him, and for the lending of his name.
    Is there a better name for us to rally under, that says so well who we are and what we believe? I think, after 500 years, it’s pretty well gonna stay Lutheran. And without an ounce of shame attached to it.

  5. Lawrence says:

    Anonymous, these are all Red-Herring arguments. Nothing you’ve said here is new in any way, and can easily be found on any given anti-Lutheran or anti-Christian web site.

    In speaking out against the peasants Luther was speaking out against the unlawfullness of their rebellion, not against their actual social concerns.

    In speaking out against Jews, Luther was speaking out against false religious practices and teachings. No different from when we speak out against any number of false teachings now. No different from what anonymous, above, is attempting to do here.

    Pre-WWII everyone knew exactly what Luther was speaking against. But, Post-WWII, Jews are a “protected” race that no one is allowed to speak out against for any reason. (Except if you are Muslim, of course).

    The fact remains. Orthodox Jewish practice and teachings are wrong from the Christian point of view. Luther spoke out against these Jewish views just like every other Catholic or Protestant clergy of his time.

    Furthermore, it was not Luther’s idea to be “protected” by the German Prince. The German princes decided to do this all on their own.

    Luther made many trips to vist with his Catholic peers/enemies, fully understanding the dangers.
    It wasn’t until people started to try and kill him that he stayed behind the German walls.

    And Luther lived for most of his early life as a monk. These guys basically lived as peasants. Saying he had no idea of what it was like to live as a peasant is just foolishness.

  6. Pastor Beisel says:

    I just read the introduction to this particular Psalm commentary, and noticed that the editor (Pelikan) suggests that the preface was actually written by Melancththon, on account of a letter Mel. wrote to Veit Dietrich. Interesting. It is very Lutheresque.

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